COVID-19 - Organisation of care

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COVID-19 is having a negative impact on the entire healthcare system in the Netherlands. Everywhere people and healthcare providers encounter each other, things are happening differently. Policymakers and healthcare professionals often have difficulty adapting the organisation of the care provided to this situation. ZonMw facilitates research into the organisation of healthcare and deferred healthcare during a pandemic to discover how we can handle this better, both now and in the future.

COVID-19 disrupts the entire healthcare system

Everybody has become aware that the Dutch healthcare system is functioning less well due to COVID-19. And that not only concerns care for COVID-19 patients and the care provided in hospitals. Virtually all care provided is being realised in different ways than what we are used to. Examples are home care, general practice care and mental healthcare. It is very difficult to estimate exactly what the long-term consequences will be for public health. However, this is a subject of increasing concern.

More attention needed for the organisation of healthcare

In all sectors, policymakers, administrators, managers and healthcare professionals must find other ways to optimally organise the care provided. That often proves to be an enormous challenge. More research is therefore needed to understand how we can handle this better, both now and in the future.

Deferred care is part of this theme

One of the most important issues within this theme concerns deferred care. This is an umbrella term for healthcare treatments that are provided later or not at all as a consequence of the coronavirus measures. This concerns, for example, deferred operations, people with symptoms who do not go to the GP or go too late, and it relates to planned care that has had to be deferred due to a lack of personnel or due to a shortage of materials. Deferred care is, however, just one of the many indirect consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on the healthcare system.

ZonMw facilitates research

ZonMw facilitates research into the organisation of healthcare to help policymakers and healthcare organisations and professionals with this problem. We do this by funding research, but also by encouraging knowledge development and knowledge utilisation. With this, the emphasis is on obtaining insights and lessons learned that can help in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. It will also be examined how care can function better in a similar healthcare crisis, both now and in the future.

Focus areas of the studies

ZonMw supports scientific research into the organisation of healthcare in the following focus areas:

  • Positive learning effects of national and regional collaboration;
  • Development and evaluation of remote care and prevention, such as e-health;
  • The care provided to healthcare professionals;
  • The indirect effects of the coronavirus pandemic and coronavirus measures on the healthcare system.

ZonMw provides active support

ZonMw requests an interim report every three months to ensure that studies progress optimally. For example, we ensure that researchers can work together better or that they are supported in producing implementation plans. This ensures that knowledge from the studies can be applied in practice as soon as possible.

Researchers in the spotlight

What is it like to do research into COVID-19? Several researchers wrote a blog about the project they are working on within the theme Organisation of Care. The first blog, written by Daan Westra and Bram Fleuren, is about their study: 'Trying out, adapting, burning out? Understanding and learning from COVID-19-related adaptations by hospitals and their effects on healthcare professionals' sustainable deployment and recovery.

Taco van der Vaart, Paul Buijs and Gerdien Regts also wrote a blog about their study 'National and regional coordination of scarce capacity and resources during the coronavirus pandemic'. The allocation of scarce resources became a challenge during the pandemic. In this study, they investigate how the coordination of this proceeds and what the effects are for the availability and utilisation of resources.

Read their personal story here

Onderdeel van breed coronaonderzoek

ZonMw werkt aan mogelijkheden om nu en in de toekomst met onderzoek en kennis bij te dragen aan oplossingen in de strijd tegen het coronavirus en de effecten daarvan op de maatschappij. Dit doen we in samenwerking met opdrachtgevers, beleidsmakers, onderzoekers, patiënten, praktijkprofessionals, dataprofessionals en internationale partners. Deze studies naar de organisatie van zorg horen ook bij het brede onderzoek naar COVID-19. De studies over uitgestelde zorg zijn onderdeel van organisatie van zorg en hebben ook raakvlakken met Kwaliteit van Zorg.